1

picayune

play
noun pic·a·yune \ˌpi-kē-ˈyün\

Definition of picayune

  1. 1a :  a Spanish half real piece formerly current in the Southb :  half dime

  2. 2 :  something trivial

picayune was our Word of the Day on 02/26/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of picayune in a Sentence

  1. our lives don't amount to a picayune in the great scheme of things

Origin and Etymology of picayune

Occitan picaioun, a small coin, from picaio money, from pica to jingle, of imitative origin


2

picayune

adjective pic·a·yune

Definition of picayune

  1. :  of little value :  paltry; also :  petty, small-minded

picayunish

play \ˌpi-kē-ˈyü-nish\ adjective

Examples of picayune in a Sentence

  1. They argued over the most picayune details.

  2. the picayune ponderings of a commentator who steadfastly believes other cultures are inferior to our own

Did You Know?

In the 19th century, in Louisiana and other southern states, a picayune was a small coin (specifically, a Spanish half real) with a low monetary value. The coin's name derives from picaioun, a word that means "small coin" in Occitan (a language spoken in Southern France). It ultimately derives from the Occitan word pica, which means "to jingle" and which was created to mimic the sound of coins jingling. The real as a monetary unit fell out of use, however, and picayune joined two bits in the category of small amounts of money whose name eventually came to be used instead for things that are paltry and small.

First Known Use of picayune

1836


PICAYUNE Defined for English Language Learners

picayune

adjective

Definition of picayune for English Language Learners

  • : not very valuable or important



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up picayune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

sad or melancholy

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!